Hold on, there is a point to this — Help!

This is the fourth consecutive year I have been honored to be a judge in the FAC annual teen scholastic/literary/poetry event. This year was even more exciting because I am still alive and it was the first reason I have had to shuck my pajamas since last year. Just kidding! But seriously, FAC added a short story contest. Yay!the-pose-533x800.jpg

FAC logoA little aside: Forney Arts Council hosts the annual event but an invitation to participate is extended to several surrounding cities. Just FYI Forney is a booming little town about a stone’s throw east of Dallas Texas.

Just look at the beautiful poets and writers of our future.

Some of them receiving their first check for following their passion.

winners FAC compition

The winners

I am so proud of every single one of them. I know their parents and teachers are too; and the fabulous lady (Tiffany) with a passion for art that keeps this thing going.

Hold on, there is a point to this post —

What was it? ….

Oh yes, Help!

I need your help. It won’t cost you a dime and only a minute of your time.

What? Why? How? You ask?

Well, you see I am scheduled to give a talk/presentation next month on the art of the short story. Actually it is The Art of the Short Story & Micro/Flash Fiction.

The problem (other than the typical butterflies) is I know why I read and write short stories/flash fiction but I would love some input as to why others do.

Is it attention span? Time constraints? Challenge? Amusement? Something else?

If this thing works right I have inserted two polls, one for writers and another for readers. If not…  the comments section is always open.

Thanks Y’all.

Why do you read short stories?

Why do you write short stories?


A Poem & A Picture (Being)




by Ale Pena

Running in the Rain (1024x735)


is the feeling of cool, April rain

dancing in your hair; seemingly weightless.


is the way shadows creep slowly in your eyes

when I ask you about belief.

Your retinas slowly expand,

slowly bloom like the firecrackers we watched explode

in a different season.

“Do you believe in God?” I asked.

You shake your head and

the droplets in your hair somehow fall, slip, break in light;

1000 rays of colors

being reflected,



as you answered:

“Sometimes I think God is in everything.”

I touched your wrist then and

felt the tendons of life moving only by a miracle

that cannot be explained by Math and Science,

whose seemingly useless scratches on paper

cannot begin to comprehend

the feeling of

your heavy arm and your dense Being;

your pulse pumping through every crevice;

or how every vein in your body

forms a map of Existence.

The motion of your hand is a work of Art,

vibrant and alive; a Masterpiece,

Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

I then felt your spirit,

somehow thunderous,

somehow booming,

loud; pulsing through me.

Every nerve alive:

a Universe inside me; inside Us,

together: one.

Moving forward

is a heartfelt release shaking our very core.

You closed your eyes and exhaled.

In and out: the sound of your breathing body from the exhilaration of finding

truth and faith.

We sit in the God-rain and become free.


Ale Pena was 1st place winner of the 2014Teen Poetry Contest sponsored by inForney.com